Our mousetraps often spring in the night, catching hapless rodents intent on eating our oatmeal or the crumbs from dinner. It always wakes me up. I hate the whole process. We diligently search for the entry points and sometimes seem to stem the inward march, but their skeletons flex, delicate as bird bones. They seem to materialize out of thin air. We see the gray flash or hear the dreaded scamper, and another round of trap-setting begins.
Some skirt around the traps. Others nibble so delicately they’re able to take a few bites and execute a temporary getaway. Some are miserably caught by their tails and drag the trap around. Others die from a clean crack across the neck.
Outside, the cats and hawks are always ready for another meal, so I understand the motivation to find a way in; warm places to nest and tasty scraps to glean. But these comforts are brief and fatal.
“Brief and fatal,” God says with a nod.
“Well, hello, Mr. Echo,” I say. God’s presence doesn’t unsettle me so much anymore. Besides, I could use a distraction. I’m working on my Advanced Directives with a Dementia Addendum. I wave the sheets of paper at God. “Want to serve as my witness?”
“I am always and forever your witness, honey,” God says. “But my signature isn’t worth a plug nickel.”
I’m not sure what that idiom means, but I like it. It was a favorite of my mom’s. “You’re pretty funny,” I say.
“I know,” God says. I turn to give God a smile, and just then, we both hear the snap from under the bench. I flinch. God says in a voice laden with irony, “And another one bites the dust.”
I start toward the trap, but God gets there first. “I’ll take care of it for you,” God says. I open the door. Twilight floods in, a dark liquid that will eventually dissolve my feet. I try to be brave.
So, so gently, God lifts the twitching mouse. Joins the twitching mouse. Becomes the twitching mouse.
And I am the hapless witness, briefly bereft of my fatal comforts, wishing such infusions of wisdom didn’t take so long.
A host of earthly beings surround God’s body, now peacefully still in the garden. I put on my coat and boots and go out to lie down beside my fine-boned God. In the steel gray sky, an eagle circles, sharp-eyed and majestic. The wingspan alone is beyond comprehension.